Jan 9, 2011

Paul's Letter to the Romans; Ch 8:9-14

Romans 8:9-14

In my last post I began to go through Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome. (Talk about divine providence. Paul's wrote to the Christians in Rome and his letter to them is called Romans. Wow, coincidence? I think not.)

In those first 13 chapters we saw how Paul made a distinction between those who are in Christ and those who are not. Those not in Christ are at odds with God, even in a hostile manner, and they are under a curse of death. Yet those in Christ receive from God, life and peace with Him. Not, however because of anything those in Him have done, but solely and completely because of what Jesus Christ has done and accredited to those who receive Him and in whom dwells His Holy Spirit.

Paul makes an interesting statement in vs 9; "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit," meaning in contrast to those who are in the flesh, who "cannot please God" (Rom 8:8), you who are in the Spirit are pleasing to God. Again though, I can't stress this enough, Rom 8:3-4, only because Jesus has fulfilled the Law in the flesh, so it is accredited to us.

Here is that interesting part of what Paul says, and one I don't believe is spoken as often as it should be. Rom 8:9, "...if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you."

Excuse me? Did he just say IF? Yes, yes he did. That means that there are those who believe themselves to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, but as Jesus said, "not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven..."(Matt 7:21-23)

This is a very scary prospect. There are those who think they are saved but are not, and they will stand before Jesus in that day of judgement, and even tell Him about all the great things they did in His name, and He will say "I never knew you, depart from me you who practice lawlessness." (Matt 7:23)

I would encourage anyone who professes Jesus as their Lord, to do as Paul instructed. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Cor13:5)

How can we test ourselves in this? Believe it or not Romans gives us the answer to this.

One answer is not known until we die. That is eternal life and the resurrection of our bodies. Our earthly bodies are dead because of our sin. Rom8:11; Our spirit is given life because of Christ, we are born again, and eventually God will resurrect our earthly bodies in power and glory.

The next test the Christian should examine himself with is that of sanctification. "...but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live." Rom 8:12-14

Are you growing in holiness? Of course this does not mean perfection. No one can obtain perfection in the flesh, and anyone who says they are and have no sin, is deceived and the truth does not abide ion them. (1 Jn 1:8).

The saying is, "it's not about perfection, it's about direction." One of the promises of the Holy Spirit is the sanctification of those who He leads. It is clear that one receives salvation by repentance from our sinfulness. This is not a onetime act though. Repentance is a lifelong turning from sin and a lifelong leading of the Holy Spirit into righteousness. We can, sorry I shouldn't say that WE can, but the Spirit will grow us in holiness.

Are you growing in holiness? Are you sinning less? There is no single gauge which might apply to all believers, this is really between you and God. There is also no single holiness-booster shot, it is a life long journey of repentance as the Spirit reveals areas of sin in your life and dying to yourself and growing in the Spirit.

This is best accomplished by reading and meditating upon God's word and PRAYER.

Spend time praying!! Lots of time!! Also, I know in our worlds attempt to be super spirituals, this may sound selfish (but it’s not), you don’t always need to pray for others, but pray for yourself. Pray especially for the Spirit's guidance into all truth and understanding of God's will and to grow you in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

The more we are made in the likeness of Jesus Christ, the more others and ourselves come to know Him and what He is like. Think about it. The more we become like Him, the more we will know what He is like. And this will in turn move others, and ourselves, to love Him more and more.

May the Spirit of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ fill you with peace and grace for the glory of God.

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